education programs strengthened
Send a link to a friend
School Code modified to include FFA and the
supervised agricultural experience program in ag curriculum
[JUNE 28, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed
legislation June 15 that ensures a solid, well-rounded approach to
agriculture education in state schools, helping to strengthen the
future of Illinois' No. 1 industry.
House Bill 4986 requires districts that offer a secondary
agricultural education program to provide instructional courses
approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and requires a
state and nationally affiliated FFA chapter to be a part of the
curriculum. The legislation also requires hands-on instruction
through formal, supervised agricultural experience activities and
programs, known as SAE programs.
"For schools that offer agricultural education programs, let's
make sure we're providing the best possible curriculum. That
means having experts help develop the curriculum and making sure
we offer hands-on instruction. If we do that, and we do it well,
we can give kids who want to become farmers and researchers the
skills they need," Blagojevich said.
FFA and SAE allow
students to get hands-on, specialized training in subjects
including agriculture communications, agriculture sales, beef
production, diversified horticulture, emerging agricultural
technology, landscape management, specialty crop production, and
environmental science and natural resources. In 2004-05, more
than 26,000 students in grades 9-12 were enrolled in
agricultural education programs. Around the state, 16,000
students are also enrolled as members in FFA, but in some
instances barriers to student membership in FFA were created
when FFA events were treated strictly as an extracurricular
"FFA and SAE, along with quality classroom instruction, are
critical to the education of our youth in agriculture today,"
said James Craft, Illinois FFA executive secretary. "Experiences
provided through these vehicles complete the ‘learning by doing'
component of agriculture education and also help create a
well-rounded student by shaping skill, attitude and knowledge.
We are very pleased that the governor recognizes the importance
of making these components an integral part of the agriculture
State Rep. Donald Moffitt, R-Galesburg, and Sen. John
Sullivan, D-Rushville, sponsored House Bill 4986.
[to top of second column]
"I commend Governor Blagojevich for signing HB 4986 into law and
for his continued support of agriculture education," said Moffitt.
"Agriculture is the number one industry in Illinois. A strong high
school agriculture program will help ensure that we are preparing
our youth for exciting and expanding career opportunities in
agriculture and agribusiness."
"Education is about preparing our children for the future, and if
a student wishes to practice agriculture, then they should have the
tools they need in high school," said Sullivan. "The legislation
will educate our students and encourage them to follow their
passions of becoming farmers, which will boost our area's economy in
The bill signing coincides with the final day of the 78th annual
FFA state convention in Springfield.
Agriculture education and FFA have been a true Illinois success
77 percent of
Illinois agricultural programs today provide course credit in
math, science, social studies, language arts or consumer
74 percent of
agricultural graduating seniors continue their education after
59 percent of
agricultural departments have developed academic assessments to
meet the national No Child Left Behind standards and support the
local improvement plan.
This legislation is just one of the efforts Blagojevich has made
to strengthen agriculture education in Illinois. Since fiscal 2005,
the governor has increased the agricultural education budget by $1
million, the most significant back-to-back increases in funding ever
for agriculture education.
House Bill 4986 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2007.
[News release from the governor's office]